Early start gives Hennie Cape lead

He got out there early, laid down a marker before the wind picked up too much, and Hennie Otto finished round two of the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open with a four stroke lead after his four-under-par 68.


He reached the halfway mark at Royal Cape Golf Club on a total of 10-under-par 134, with Tjaart van der Walt and Omar Sandys on six-under-par. Jared Harvey, Justin Harding, Desvonde Botes and Allan Versfeld were another two shots back on 140.


Otto, who has 12 Sunshine Tour titles to his name, used all that experience to his advantages as he went round the 6,260-metre course without dropping a shot – a feat all the other players in the field would have paid dearly for.


“It’s about where you feel comfortable,” said Otto of the fact that he has played Royal Cape so many times before. “Some guys feel comfortable on the golf course and always play well there. They said the wind was going to pick up and it did. There was nearly a four-club wind at one stage.”


He started his round on the 10th, and didn’t make a birdie until he reached the 16th – and then he made three in a row, and another after the turn on the second, for good measure.


Crucially, he had negotiated 13, 14 and 15 without dropping a shot, and those holes were to prove the nemesis of many further down in the pack during a breezy second round. “There was nearly a four-club wind at one stage,” said Otto of that treacherous stretch.


To have opened up that lead ahead of a weekend when the wind is expected to blow throughout is going to be important as he pushes for victory. “It all depends on what happens to the guys behind me,” he said, “and the wind could blow even harder tomorrow and that will be a very good test then. I’m playing well and just trying to take it day by day and see what happens.”


Van der Walt and Sandys had seven bogeys between them – three for Van der Walt and four for Sandys – and that made keeping Otto within striking distance was made more difficult for them when the weekend’s play starts.


In the end, Otto’s four-under was matched only by Ruan de Smidt, Gert Myburg and Ulrich van den Berg, whose 68 was spoiled by a bogey-bogey finish which left him eight shots off the lead and very frustrated.


In the BMG Classic two weeks ago, Van den Berg got the better of Otto. “Ulrich just played better than I did on the final day, and there is nothing you can do about that kind of situation,” said Otto.


It’s going to take a superhuman effort this week. “The last couple of months I’ve played well,” said Otto. “I’m just trying to take it day by day and see what happens.”


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